Man pitching big investment gains in short-term rentals on social media barred by Colorado

Man pitching big investment gains in short-term rentals on social media barred by Colorado

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A businessman who uses social media to drum up investments in his short-term rental properties is barred from selling securities in Coloradao after state officials challenged his claims of high returns and a vast portfolio.

A consent order signed by Connor Robertson, a Pennsylvania resident with a business in Colorado, and the Colorado Division of Securities bars Robertson from offering or selling any securities in Colorado for three years. Under the order signed by Robertson May 15, the businessman waived his right to a formal hearing on the state’s allegations that he made several misrepresentations about his real estate holdings and earnings.

Robertson didn’t admit to wrongdoing. His company, Syntacz LLC, is based in Eagle.

The consent agreement followed an undercover investigation opened in 2023 after an anonymous complaint said Robertson’s solicitations via videos and social media smacked of fraud.

A video Robertson posted on YouTube said a $10,000 investment in an Airbnb hedge fund would make the average investor returns of 18% to 22%, according to the consent order. Robertson also posts videos on TikTok.

“There was no hedge fund,” said Securities Commissioner Tung Chan.

An investigator posing as a prospective investor began texting with Robertson in February 2023 and then talked to him by phone.

The division subpoenaed bank records and information from Airbnb. Chan said the documents and an interview with Robertson and his attorney produced information that was “wildly different” from the pitches made on his videos and in exchanges with the undercover investigator,

Robertson claimed to have 102 properties between Colorado and Florida, Chan said. But information from Airbnb showed just 31 unique addresses associated with Robertson from March 1, 2021, to March 2, 2023.

Robertson told the investigator that there were 32 people on his management team, but said during the interview with his attorney present that he had only one employee, according to the consent order.

State officials said records also undermined Robertson’s claim of making $330,000 per month from the short-term rentals. Information from Airbnb disclosed a total gross payout of just $329,803 to Robertson between April 2022 and March 2023, the consent order said.

The securities division isn’t aware of any Coloradans who lost money investing with Robertson.

“One of the important things here is that we wanted to stop the solicitations before investors were putting in their hard-earned money,” Chan said. “We do this kind of work all the time and we know for a fact that by the time the money is invested, it’s very hard to get 100% on the dollar back.”

Regulators also want to provide a “countervailing voice” amid all the noise on social media around money-making schemes, Chan said. She said people should take some time before hitting any buttons.

“Nothing is so urgent that you can’t take a pause and do a little research,” Chan said. “If somebody’s trying to pressure you, that’s something that you should consider a red flag.”

The state securities division has a checklist for people to help protect their investments. Chan said people can also call or email the division and register a complaint.

“Anything that looks really profitable is going to have a really high risk and you have to make sure that you are thinking about your own risk tolerance.”

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